Freedom is not the same thing as sovereignty.
"I’m only available for open relationships."
The moment he said it to me I knew:
He was conflating sovereignty with freedom.
He didn't ask me how I felt about open relationships, nor did he ask me what I was available for, he just announced it and then smoothly changed the subject. He'd technically done his due diligence — he told me he wanted to be free — but he was far from sovereign.
He said he wanted variety, diverse sexual experiences, a container where he no longer had to hide his sexual desire. He had begun to identify so deeply with it that he was sure he was wired this way. Wired to have many partners.
Maybe he is.
But to me one thing was clear: what he truly wanted was permission to live in the fullest expression of his truth, unbound by convention, no longer shackled by the crippling fear of not belonging in an already isolating human experience.
He wanted to come out of hiding. He wanted his unconscious mind to be revealed.
He yearned to feel safe in exposing the wholeness of his heart. Not just to the world, not just to me, but to himself.
How do I know?
Because it's what we all yearn for.
I didn't tell him at the time that I saw all those things. I didn't pretend to know any better than he did about the tangible expression of what he wanted. For me it wasn't either/or and it also wasn't necessarily both/and. I trusted that the truth would reveal itself in equal measure to his heart revealing itself to him.
In the meantime, I did the only thing I knew to do: I decided to actively love all of the parts of him that he felt like he needed to hide. Every time he struggled to be honest. Every time he held himself back. Every time he acquiesced even though he knew exactly what he wanted.
Because I knew engaging with the part of him that felt it was wrong to be honest would only keep him hidden. Because doing anything other than loving *all* of him would've been robbing my own freedom from me.
Sovereignty cannot be bought or negotiated or felt fully, deeply, ecstatically through a change of circumstances.
Sovereignty is discovered through risking love. Risking opening your heart wider than you thought it ever could go. Through staying with the discomfort long enough, present enough, devoted enough to see what's underneath it.
Sovereignty also comes in defining your own model for relating that is unrelenting and uncompromising in heart connection and deeply excavated, perpetually unfolding truth. The kind of truth that is divinely curated and uniquely belongs to that singular relationship and the two (or more) individuals who are in it.
If that's a multiple partner situation or a sexually exclusive situation or something else entirely: amazing.
If you need a pre-defined container to get to the truth: incredible.
But here's what I know to be true:
When the body is no longer bound by convention, when we are empowered to feel whatever we feel no matter how taboo, to speak the truth of our heart no matter how vulnerable or humbling, to follow our deepest desires — with the discernment, compassion, and especially the personal responsibility that comes from such liberation — only then, are we truly sovereign. And no other person or experience or relationship form can create that for us other than ourselves.
Sovereignty comes from within.